Google’s ambitious plan to get everyone wearing glasses that have computers running in them is really led by Thad Starner.He’s an expert on the topic. Starner has been wearing various forms of augmented reality googles since 1993.
Farhad Manjoo recently sat down with Starner for the Technology Review. Here are the cool bits:
- The original devices he wore in the early ’90s covered most of his face and ran on 7-pound batteries.
- Google Glasses may actually improve your ability to focus on the real world. As Manjoo looked from Starner to his iPad and from his iPad to his iPhone, Starner remained “the picture of concentration.” The goggles (in theory at least) do all the things your devices do, so there’s no need to look down or fumble around.
- Some critics allege that consumers won’t want to make the adjustment to wearable technology. Starner’s counter-argument is that consumers are always reluctant to change their ways. In the early ’90s, he said, consumers questioned what they would need mobile computers for. Look at how that turned out.
- Google’s main problem now is the input device. Starner’s own model uses a miniature keyboard that has a steep learning curve. Another solution is a trackpad that the user would hold in his pocket. The best option may be voice-control, but that technology is far from perfect.
- One model that Starner has been working on understands “dual-purpose speech,” which is communication spoken directly to another person but meant to trigger the lenses simultaneously.
- At the end of the interview, Manjoo tried on Starner’s glasses. After his eyes adjusted to them, he saw that the screen projected notes from a Google PR rep about Manjoo and how to interact with him. Google was coaching Starner as he was being interviewed.